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newsclips -- Newsclips for January 13, 2012.

Posted: 13 Jan 2012 14:14:54
California Air Resources Board News Clips for January 13, 2012. 

This is a service of the California Air Resources Board’s Office
of Communications.  You may need to sign in or register with
individual websites to view some of the following news articles.


Bay Area air district discourages wood-burning Friday. The
regional board that monitors air quality asks Bay Area residents
not to burn wood on Friday. While fireplace burning is not
banned, it could be unhealthy, according to the Bay Area Air
Quality Management District. The agency issued several Winter
Spare the Air Alerts this season because of smoky air. While the
air should not become unhealthy enough to trigger another alert,
the district "strongly discourages" wood fires to keep it that
way. Posted.

Judge rules innovative Bay Area development guidelines are
flawed. Development review guidelines meant to cut air pollution,
the first of their kind when approved in 2010, are in limbo after
a judge ruled their adoption by the region's air board was
flawed. One building industry leader predicted the ruling would
force a rewrite of land-use guidelines that he said delay and add
costs to "infill" development of homes and businesses from San
Jose to Oakland and Walnut Creek. Posted.

Martinez company settles air pollution fines. Plains Products
Terminals of Martinez has agreed to pay $116,000 to settle air
pollution violations at its petroleum storage site and marine
terminal, regulators announced Thursday. The settlement covers
seven violations between 2008 and 2011, the Bay Area Air Quality
Management District said. None of the violations posed a
significant threat to air quality or public health, according to
the air district. Posted.

Bucket brigade evaluates toxic tour results. The results of the
bucket brigade's toxic tour are in. In December, Arvin residents
concerned with air quality took their own sample near composting
operator Community Recycling & Resource Recovery Inc. They sent
it off to a Simi Valley lab and tested the sample for dozens of
sulfur gases and volatile organic compounds. This week, the group
said it found "threatening" levels of hydrogen sulfide, the
colorless gas that smells like rotten eggs and can, in very high
concentrations, lead to death. Posted.

East Kern Air Pollution Control District board will meet in
Tehachapi. The January meeting of the EKAPCD Board of Directors
will be held on Jan. 12, 2012, beginning at 1 p.m. at the Golden
Hills Community Services District office, 21415 Reeves,
Tehachapi. The meeting is open to the public. Among items to be
considered by the board is a response to a Kern County Grand Jury
recommendation that the district be consolidated with the San
Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. That proposal has
been widely criticized. Posted.

Dust levels up in SLO County. Although San Luis Obispo
County’s air quality remains much better than other parts of
California, unusual weather patterns have caused a slight
increase in dust levels locally. Records kept by the San Luis
Obispo County Air Pollution Control District show local air
quality has already violated state standards for fine particulate
matter twice this year. That’s unusual, said Aeron Arlin-Genet,
air district spokeswoman. Posted.

Is a county building making employees sick? Sarah Kirk made a
show-stopping entrance to the county Board of Supervisors meeting
on Tuesday, her son Gavin immobile in a wheelchair that she
pushed before her. Sarah Kirk addresses the Board of Supervisors
on Tuesday with her son, Gavin, at her side in a wheelchair. The
nine-year-old boy is perhaps the most arresting visual in the
two-year insistence by county employees that there is something
toxic at a Social Services Agency office building on North Eckoff
Street in Orange that houses about 400 workers. Posted.


Investors see climate opportunity to make money, create jobs.
UNITED NATIONS — In the language of the 450 large institutional
investors meeting at a conference here Thursday, climate change
is a risk to avoid and also an opportunity to make a good return
on investments.  The investors, who control more than $20
trillion worldwide, are looking at climate change from a business
perspective even as Washington steers clear of the issue. Clean
energy investments worldwide grew 5 percent in 2011 over

Climate change not just about CO2; study says cut methane, soot
to slow warming, save lives. Washington — An international team
of scientists says it’s figured out how to slow global warming in
the short run and prevent millions of deaths from dirty air: Stop
focusing so much on carbon dioxide. They say the key is to reduce
emissions of two powerful and fast-acting causes of global
warming — methane and soot. Posted.

To Slow Climate Change, Cut Down On Soot, Ozone. Politically,
climate change is off this year's campaign agenda. Jobs, the
economy and social issues are front and center. But scientists
are working as hard as ever to figure out how much the Earth is
warming and what to do about it. Some now say it's time for a new
strategy, one that gets faster results. Talk to Durwood Zaelke,
for example. Zaelke is a grizzled veteran of the climate wars:


Grant money flows for Oakland port truckers, but for some it's
too little, too late. The grant money is flowing to help Oakland
Port truckers buy newer, less polluting rigs, but financial aid
appears to have come too late for some drivers who found other
jobs or couldn't afford to take on new debt. Friday is the
deadline for port haulers with 2004 model-year trucks to apply
for $10,000 truck replacement grants issued by the Bay Area Air
Quality Management District. Posted.


‘Crunch time’ at troubled nuclear fuel plant. U.S. Enrichment
Corp., which produces fuel for nuclear power plants, is having
its own sort of meltdown. Disillusioned investors have wiped out
95 percent of the company’s market value since 2007. Standard &
Poor’s has saddled it with a dismal CCC-plus credit rating. And
USEC’s chief executive John Welch says that “clearly we’re coming
to crunch time here.” When USEC was created by the U.S.
government in the 1990s, the idea was to privatize the job of
uranium enrichment. Posted.


California sets new efficiency rules for battery chargers.
California will become the first state in the nation to require
greater energy efficiency in the battery chargers that millions
of consumers use to power their cellphones, laptops, power tools
and other electrical devices. The California Energy Commission on
Thursday unanimously approved new standards for battery chargers,
which the agency says waste nearly two-thirds of the energy they
collect. Posted.

Boxer urges SoCal Edison to expedite renewable energy projects.
In a letter to SCE's president, the senator chastises the utility
for delays that have left solar projects sitting idle in national
parks and forests. Sen. Barbara Boxer on Thursday urged Southern
California Edison to expedite agreements with national parks and
forests so that millions of dollars in renewable energy projects
can begin producing electricity. Posted.

Vestas Jobs Threat Pressures Obama to Extend Tax Break.  Vestas
Wind Systems A/S’s threat to fire 1,600 workers in the U.S.
undermines President Barack Obama’s goal of creating green jobs
and adds to pressure on Congress to extend a tax credit that the
industry relies on. The world’s biggest maker of wind turbines
said yesterday it will probably reduce its staff beyond the 2,335
posts it’s eliminating worldwide if the U.S. doesn’t renew the
so-called Production Tax Credit, which expires at the end of this
year. Posted.


Chief executive of high-speed rail project steps down. Roelof van
Ark's departure raises new questions about the controversial
project's stability. At the same time, Thomas Umberg announces he
is leaving as chairman of the project's board. The political and
management challenges facing California's bullet train project
grew more complicated Thursday, when the chief executive of the
$98.5-billion effort suddenly announced his resignation, just
months before construction was supposed to begin. Posted.


Protect natural resources — phase out dirty fuels. The recent
ruling by a federal judge to block California's landmark Low
Carbon Fuel Standard is a huge blow to our state's efforts to
dramatically reduce global warming pollution that threatens
people, wildlife and natural resources across the state. Fuels
that run our vehicles are the second biggest source of carbon
emissions in the U.S., and our clean energy future depends on
phasing out dirty fuels like tar sands and phasing in clean
fuels.  Posted.

ELIAS: New effort on better cars draws usual misguided
opposition. If California highways and parking lots of 2025 look
considerably different from today's, it will probably be because
they'll contain almost 1.5 million more hybrid cars and trucks,
hydrogen-driven vehicles and plug-in hybrids that run mostly on
electricity except on long trips. That's the vision behind the
latest set of proposed rules rolled out by the California Air
Resources Board even as the Republican chairman of the main
investigative committee in the House of Representatives seeks to
drag it into hearings about whether it is exceeding its mission.

Letter: There is hope for renters. As a renter, I definitely
would prefer if my home were in a building that was smoke-free.
Most of my neighbors would agree because secondhand smoke is a
toxic pollutant and a serious health threat. The U.S. Surgeon
General recently stated there is no safe level of secondhand
smoke exposure. Also, in 2006 the California Air Resources Board
designated secondhand smoke as a toxic air contaminant, in the
same category as car exhaust and many factory emissions. Posted.

How Environmental Protection Fares in Governor's Budget .
Planning & Conservation League. Last week, due to a technical
glitch, the Brown Administration unintentionally released the
Governor’s proposed budget a few days earlier than expected.
Through $10.3 billion in cuts and increased revenues, the
proposed budget would close a $9.2 billion deficit, compared to
last year's $26 billion gap, and build a $1.1 billion reserve.
The most severe cuts will be inflicted on CalWORKs, Medi-Cal,
child care, and the Cal Grant Program. Posted.

Far-reaching effects of refining regs. While the American
electorate and media were focused on the Iowa caucuses at year’s
end, and are now fixated on the early presidential primaries, a
serious — potentially devastating — problem is brewing that could
affect every driver and other users of refined petroleum products
in the U.S. The warning signs came in late 2011, when two major
oil companies — Sunoco and ConocoPhilips — announced that they
were closing three oil refineries in the Northeast. This means
the loss of more than 50 percent of the refining capacity in that
region. Posted.


On Our Radar: Reducing Soot and Methane. Adam Ferguson for The
New York TimesSoot from early-morning cooking fires in a village
in Uttar Pradesh, India. Reiterating that carbon dioxide need not
be the only focus, an international team of scientists suggests
14 ways of controlling emissions of methane and soot, from
cleaning up cookstoves to changing cultivation methods for rice
paddies. If adopted more widely, the scientists calculate, these
methods would reduce projected global warming by 0.9 degrees
Fahrenheit by the year 2050. [Associated Press]. Posted.

Shell’s Arctic Drilling Plan Clears Hurdle. Royal Dutch Shell has
been on a six-year crusade to drill in Arctic waters off Alaska’s
coast, and has spent about $4 billion on the effort so far
without drilling a single well. But the company took one more
bureaucratic baby step forward this week toward drilling in the
Chukchi Sea later this year. An appeals board of the
Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday rejected four
challenges brought by the environmental groups like Alaska Native
Peoples and Earthjustice to block Clean Air Act permits covering
airborne emissions from industrial operations. Posted.

Savings May Come Soon Under New Fuel Economy Standard. Consumer
group says 54.5 mpg by 2025 a win for drivers & car makers.
Gasoline prices hit record highs in 2011 and for the first time
last year, the cost of gas equaled or exceeded even the cost of
owning a vehicle: on average, the roughly $2,800 dollars that a
household spent at the pump was more than a year’s worth of car
payments. Crunching the numbers on a hypothetical new car
purchase 13 years from now, the Consumer Federation of America
(CFA) says what we’ll save in gas will more than cover the extra
spent on new fuel-saving technologies — an $800 savings even at
the end of a five-year loan. Posted.

Climate Change and Coastal Communities: Facing the Rising Tide.
As the water rises, a documentary maker ponders why people aren’t
more concerned. Opinion by Claire Schoen. I recently dug out an
old letter which I had written to my Dad back in 1982. “Have you
heard about this thing called Global Warming?” I asked. Back in
the 80’s, I was already aware of what is now referred to as
“climate change.” So why is it that so few Americans understand
this threat today? In fact, America is in retreat on the subject.

Court’s Latest Stay of Clean Air Regulations Shows the Best Can
Be the Enemy of the Good. On December 30, The U.S. Court of
Appeals for Washington, D.C. stayed implementation of the
Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Cross-State Air
Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which was to take effect on January 1,
2012. The EPA maintains that CSAPR would save 13,000 to 34,000
premature deaths annually, as well as lead to improvements in
visibility in national and state parks…Posted.

Putting a Price Tag on Whales Won't Save Them. This week American
scientists proposed a market-based approach to “saving” whales: 
set tradable quotas for them.  Establishing a “cap and trade”
market for whaling – while academically interesting – is a
terrible idea. It would legalize commercial whaling, which has
been banned by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) since
the moratorium on commercial whaling took effect in 1986. Posted.

Direct Data from Largest US Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Available Online for First Time. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
data direct from the largest emitters in the US are being made
available for the first time ever via a new online database from
the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The 2010 GHG data
released Jan. 11 by the EPA accounts for 80% of total US GHG
emissions for the year. Public information from more than 6,700
entities organized across facilities in nine industry groups and
29 source categories that directly emit large quantities of GHGs
… Posted.

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